In an open letter to volunteers posted Sunday on its website, the federal agency's director, Jody Olsen, says the decision follows recent evacuations in China and Mongolia due to the outbreak.
Olsen says that with evacuations now underway at other posts and travel becoming more challenging by the day, the agency decided to expand the suspension and evacuations.
The Peace Corps was established in 1961 during the Kennedy administration as a government-run volunteer program serving nations around the world.
Here is part of the official statement:
As you know, we recently evacuated Volunteers from China and Mongolia due to the COVID-19 outbreak and related travel constraints and school closings. Further evacuations are now under way at several posts. Unfortunately, it has become clear in the last 48 hours that numerous posts must follow suit.
It is against this backdrop that I have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend all Peace Corps operations globally and evacuate all of our Volunteers. As COVID-19 continues to spread and international travel becomes more and more challenging by the day, we are acting now to safeguard your well-being and prevent a situation where Volunteers are unable to leave their host countries.
You can find the full statement here: